Kathy O'Day, LCC Director of Disaster Response, and twenty-two LERT Chainsaw team members arrived in Panama City, Florida on Saturday, February 2, to work out of Trinity Lutheran Church with Pastor Paul McComack and Pastor Ed Brashier, Southern District Disaster Coordinator. The team members are from Illinois, Indiana and Kansas:
Prince of Peace – Palatine: Jim Beckley
St. John – Wheaton: Jim Braun, Steve Chester, Palmer & Judy Goodwin, Marty Johnson, Jeff Johnston, Anna Piro, Bruce Riemann, Roy Rose, Ken Rosenwinkel, David Schlesselman, Rich Wren
St. Peter – Hampshire: Pete & Christel Springmire, Bob & Jean Warfel
Trinity – Lisle: Mike Kostecki
St. John's – Dillsboro: Steve Black
Faith – Ottawa: Mike Crane
St. John – Lincolnville: Ira Walker
Almost every home and business has been affected in some way in Panama City and surrounding towns and area. The destruction is widespread. Many families are living in damaged homes because of limited housing options.
Trinity Lutheran is helping their community by providing emotional, spiritual, and physical support. They have distributed food and supplies since shortly after Hurricane Michael to now to approximately 6,500 affected families with many willing volunteers and donations. They are also housing the many teams who are coming in from all over the country to assist in recovery.
The St. Peter Hampshire LERT team gave 100 toiletry kits and other personal items to Tammy, Trinity’s food bank director. They were thrilled to receive the donations. Several LERT team members worked on Sunday after worship in the cemetery clearing trees and debris. As the remaining team arrives this week, there will be much work planned to be completed. We are privileged to show the mercy, compassion, presence and proclamation of Jesus Christ to those suffering and in need.
On Monday, we worked at four homes in Chippley, Florida. This is a remote area that had been hard hit and has had little assistance. Each of these families rode out the hurricane in their homes and had multiple trees still down on their property and hanging over roofs.
One woman we met was Miss Jean. She is 92 years old and had moved in with her daughter from the Joliet, Illinois, area several months prior to the storm. She was thrilled to talk to the crew from “home” and watch all the work being done to help them.
Each of the families our LERT teams helped were so grateful for the work completed and the mercy, compassion and presence of Jesus Christ shown to them.